On January 10, Steve Pack joined the Detroit Tigers as a scout.
“It’s a dream come true in a way because it’s an opportunity for me to stay in baseball,” Pack said.
Pack’s baseball career began with Fallbrook Youth Baseball. His brother, Jeff, is three and a half years older, and Steve Pack was 4 years old when he joined his brother’s Pinto League team. Steve Pack participated in Fallbrook Youth Baseball until his high school career. “Back in those days you didn’t have all that travel ball,” he said.
Jeff Pack graduated from Fallbrook High School in 1988, so the brothers never played together on the Warriors. Steve Pack spent 1989 on the freshman team and played the next three seasons on the Warrior varsity under Coach Bill Waite.
Pack was a third baseman and pitcher in high school. As a sophomore he earned second-team all-league honors as a third baseman, and as a senior he was received first-team all-league designation and was a second-team all-CIF selection.
Pack also earned Fallbrook High School’s male athlete of the year honors for 1991-92. He did not play any fall sports while in high school but spent four years with the basketball program, splitting ninth grade between the freshman and junior varsity teams and moving between the JV and varsity squads as a sophomore before spending his final two years exclusively on the varsity.
In June 1992, the Mets selected Pack in the 49th round of the amateur draft. Pack, who threw more than 100 innings as a high school senior, was drafted as a right-handed pitcher. The player selected immediately before Pack was Joe Urso, who never reached the Angels but became a legend with the Lake Elsinore Storm and currently coaches the University of Tampa. The Tigers’ 49th-round pick that year, David Newhan, didn’t sign with Detroit but was chosen in the 17th round by the Oakland Athletics three years later and eventually played for the San Diego Padres.
Pack negotiated his future with the Mets. “They offered me something. It wasn’t enough,” he said.
Pack and the Mets were able to agree to a “draft and follow” situation. An unsigned player who enrolls at a four-year college is not eligible to be drafted again until three years later, but until 2007 a player who spent the following season at a junior college had up to a year from the previous draft to sign with the team which selected him.
If a team and a player agreed on a “draft and follow” path, the junior college season would allow for additional evaluation.
Pack spent the 1993 collegiate baseball season at Pierce College in the San Fernando Valley. “I had a pretty good year, and they offered me enough money to sign after that,” he said.
Pack completed 1993 with the Mets’ Gulf Coast League affiliate, compiling a 5-3 record. He spent most of 1994 with the Mets’ Appalachian League farm team in Kingsport; three of his eleven starts were complete games and he augmented a 6-3 record with a 1.70 earned run average. Pack started one game for Columbia in the South Atlantic League during 1994 and took the loss.
Pack was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic in 1995. That year the Mets converted him from a starter to a reliever. He had a 2-7 record and a 3.70 earned run average for Columbia in 36 relief appearances while earning 12 saves.
He also spent five games with the Mets’ St. Lucie affiliate in the Florida State League and had no decisions. Pack split 1996 between Columbia and St. Lucie and had no decisions in 29 games.
He spent spring training with the Mets in 1997 but was released, ending his Mets organization career with a 13-14 record over 95 games. Pack then concluded his professional playing career in 1997 with Sioux Falls of the independent Northern League.
After his playing career ended, Pack became the assistant manager of Nevada Bob’s Golf in Temecula. He continued his golf industry career with Taylor Made, working in sales from 2000 to 2008.
“ great time there. Great company. Great people,” he said.
There was just one drawback. “It wasn’t baseball,” Pack said. “I enjoyed the golf company and playing golf and all that, but baseball is my passion, something I enjoy.”
Pack had kept in touch with friends in the baseball world, including scouts. He served as a part-time scout with the Mets in 2006 and 2007 but was out of baseball in 2008.
The Tigers position is his first full-time scouting job. He was offered the position by Tim McWilliam, who is the team’s West Coast cross-checker. “Just being around the game of baseball is why I made that decision,” Pack said.
Pack will evaluate high school, junior college, and university prospects. His territory covers San Diego, Imperial, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties and Southern Nevada.
“It’s a blessing, and I can’t thank the Tigers enough for it,” Pack said.
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